In the pilgrim town of Gorakhpur, nearly 250 km from the power centre in Lucknow, the excitement in the air is palpable and the mood festive ever since Yogi Adityanath assumed chief ministership of Uttar Pradesh. From Civil Lines to Ghantaghar, chants of “Yogi-Yogi” are heard frequently, while the 44-year-old’s supporters virtually compete with each other in handing over laddoos to those passing by the Gorakhnath Temple where Adityanath was the ‘mahant’ (head priest) since 1994.
A couple of days back, officials of the temple had told reporters that more CCTV cameras would be installed in the temple premises from the safety and security point of view. Even the baati-chokhaa (traditional eastern UP dish prepared using gram) sellers are upbeat with the latest political development in the state and expect that their local cuisine would eventually make inroads in the dietary habits of people residing in western districts of UP.
Adityanath was sworn-in as UP’s 21st chief minister along with his team of 46 ministers March 19 at Kanshiram Smriti Upwan in Lucknow. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, BJP chief Amit Shah, Union Home minister Rajnath Singh, a number of a host of Chief Ministers from BJP-ruled states, former Uttar Pradesh Chief Ministers Akhilesh Yadav, Mulayam Singh Yadav and Narayan Dutt Tiwari had attended the grand swearing-in ceremony.
The saffron-clad Yogi, who is an ardent follower of Sanatan Hindu Dharma, hails from the Nath sect, the roots of which could be traced to Guru Gorakhnath, believed to be an incarnation of Lord Shiva. The sect focusses on ‘brahmacharya’ (celibacy), yoga and self-purification through spiritual practices.
Known for his simple lifestyle, Adityanath follows a strict daily regime. Swami Vidyachetan Maharaj from Sitapur-based Naimisharanya Ashram, who has known the Yogi for over 12 years, says Adityanath gets up at 3.00 am and practises Yoga between 4.00 am and 5.00 am. “After this, he offers prayers and takes a round of the Mutt and temple premises, while inspecting the cleanliness of the place,” he said.
Thereafter, he feeds the fishes and then heads to the ‘gaushala’ (cow shed) to feed calves, each of them having a different name (given by Aditynath himself). After this the cows are given fodder.
Once these activities are over, he heads to his office that he holds as the head priest and Gorakhpur MP to listen to the grievances of the public. He usually stays there from 9.00 am to 11.00 am, but prolongs his stay if the list of complaints is long and remains there till he has heard the last complainant, the Maharaj said.
He said that in 25 years, the Yogi has never missed listening to problems of people at his office. As far as the dietary habits of Adityanath is concerned, his morning platter generally consists of boiled grams, papaya, chhaach (whey), apple and daliya (oat meal). Lunch usually comprises of a chapati and daal with a boiled vegetable.
“He takes dry fruits if he misses lunch. Dinner consists of two chapatis, daal and green vegetables. If he skips dinner, then he takes an apple, and goes to bed by 11.00 PM,” said the Maharaj, who met Adityanath in Lucknow on the swearing-in day and interacted with him for close to an hour.